This review of Jinan Red Ginseng Spa contains contents that have been provided to me free of charge, in exchange for posting. The organisation I am in partnership with is the Korean Tourism Organisation, as part of their Wellness Tourism program.
Spa’s are a big business in South Korea, as well as being a staple of Korean culture. Known as jjimjilbang (찜질방) and literally translated as steamingroom, they are one of my favourite activities to partake in, and definitely a must-do if you’re visiting the country. Especially if you’re after a spot of relaxation, or ‘healing’.
What are Korean spa’s like?
Most Korean spa’s are split into different sections: the bath house and the sauna. There will be a floor or area for baths which is separated by gender, and then a communal area where you can access different rooms of relaxation. The type of rooms will depend upon the spa you choose, but most offer a lot of different temperatures of sauna rooms, a cooler or cold room, massage centres, and then maybe some specialties. Most spas will also not permit bathing suits or clothes in the bath house for safety reasons, and will provide you with loose fitting clothes for the sauna section. Towels are also provided.
Most spas will also have food options available too, many have a restaurant that will serve hansik (한식) or Korean food, and snacks will also be available.
Jinan Red Ginseng Spa
The Jinan Red Ginseng Spa is a little bit different to other spa’s I’ve been to. Firstly, it’s imperative that you bring a bathing suit. The only area’s that were same-sex were the changing rooms, shower rooms, and toilets. The baths, as well as all of the different rooms are mixed gender. You are also required to wear a swim hat, if you don’t have your own you can rent one for 3,000W
The second thing that was different was the fact that all the experience rooms, as well as the baths, were in the same area. You could relax in the large communal pool, go to a sauna room to dry off, and then get back in the pool again.
There were also different and specific ‘therapy’ rooms to experience.
Therapy rooms offered at Jinan Red Ginseng Spa
This was the first therapy room we tried. You are given a little cup with red ginseng aromatherapy oils inside, and then choose a bath in the room. The baths are individual (as well as cleaned after every person), and there are a fair number in the room. The water in the baths bubbles to help disperse the aromatherapy oils throughout the water. Once you choose your bath, you pour the oil into the water, slide in yourself, and enjoy for 10-15 minutes.
Max time: 15 minutes
For this room, you have to book into one of the offered time slots.
Bubble Therapy was a new experience for me. There was a large stone seat ring around the outside of the room, and we were advised to leave anything that wasn’t waterproof on a table behind a curtain. It seemed a little strange at first, but once everyone was sat down and they turned the bubbles on, I quickly realised why.
From spouts placed every two seats, bubbles started appearing. And I’m not talking a small amount of bubbles. White, foamy, ginseng infused bubbles. It was really fun to play around with them and rub them onto the skin. It was a real visual experience too, as there was colour changing lights that made the atmosphere really calming.
Once time was up, the staff asked us all to get up carefully from the seats and stand in the middle, and then they turned on the water. It felt like being caught in a monsoon, but was an effective way to wash off the bubbles, and rain is a kind of healing therapy too, right?
Max time: 15 minutes (but it’s controlled by the staff)
Stone therapy is a little more common, and something that I’ve experienced at other spas before. At the Jinan Red Ginseng Spa, the stones are contained in individual beds, and you can choose between hard white stones or soft(er) black stones to lie on. The stones are heated and are said to help muscles and joints.
Max time: 15 minutes
Another one that you have to book into the time slots for, the Herb Therapy room is set out similarly to the Stone Therapy room with separate beds, but instead of stones you lie on a mat on top of cypress sawdust and wormwood from the Maisan Forest (please be careful if you have allergies). This room is also heated, and as you lie there, relaxing music plays. This therapy is supposed to help combat fatigue, but I found I couldn’t hack the full 15 minutes allowed as I was feeling a little dehydrated. It was very relaxing for the time I stayed, though.
Max time: 15 minutes
This room was another new experience at a spa for me. There were seats around the edge, and hot and cool air was blown through to make a balance. I’d recommend using this room to dry off before Herb Therapy, or if you feel you need to in between the other rooms.
This was a very relaxing part of the experience at Jinan Red Ginseng Spa. In Harmony Therapy, you sit in a darkened room on an individual, heated, stone chair. The staff give you a small plate with mud and ginseng powder to mix into a clay mask, as well as apply a small amount of peppermint oil on the nape of the neck. You mix the clay mask and then apply it to your face and body (as far as it will go), sit on the chair and relax as calming music plays. Once the time is up, your mask should have dried, and a misty rain, then a strong rain shower will be activated to clean you off.
Max time: 10 minutes
Other Therapy sections
Attached to the large pool in the centre of the spa, there is a section where music is pumped through underwater speakers for Sound Therapy. You are given buoyancy aids to help you float in the pool to achieve an ultimate state of relaxation. Though maybe not if there are children around.
Sand Therapy: I didn’t go into this room because the temperature was high and I was already feeling pretty dehydrated at this point (next time, I’ll remember to bring a water bottle).
Jinan Red Ginseng Spa Aqua Zone
There is a truly stunning section to this spa, which is the Aqua Zone, a series of hot tubs on the roof of the spa with a beautiful view of Maisan. On a clear day, I think the view would be absolutely breathtaking. Unfortunately for us, it was cloudy due to summer and rain but it was still pretty beautiful. I’d love to see it in winter with the snow covering everything.
Overall, I had a really relaxing time at this spa. It’s one that is interesting to experience with its different therapy rooms, and I definitely enjoyed my time here. If you’re in the area I recommend it as a perfect wellness destination.
Accommodation: If you aren’t just passing through the area, there is a hotel you can stay at which is next door to the spa. You can choose rooms with beds or mats – the rooms with beds are more expensive.